LONDON (JTA) — Daniel Korski, the only Jewish candidate in the London mayoral race and a political figure who was just beginning to come to the British public’s attention, has been accused of assaulting a woman during a meeting at Downing Street a decade ago.
Television producer Daisy Goodwin wrote in The Times, the British newspaper, that Korski grabbed her breast following a meeting. Korski, who was working as a special advisor to then-Prime Minister David Cameron at the time, has denied the allegations.
“In the strongest possible terms, Dan categorically denies any allegations of inappropriate behaviour whatsoever,” a spokesperson said.
While Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan is widely expected to win a third term next year, Korski had run an unexpectedly strong campaign and had been considered the preferred candidate among many senior Conservative Party figures to secure the nomination. Whether his campaign will now make it to the Conservative Party’s ballot in July, when the candidate will be selected, is uncertain. Jewish member of parliament Robert Halfon, one of Korski’s backers, has already said that he is “pausing” his support for Korski.
Goodwin, who had previously spoken out about the alleged assault six years ago without naming Korski, wrote that he had “stepped towards me and suddenly put his hand on my breast.”
Goodwin wrote that she had opted to name Korski now because he is “running to be the Tory candidate for mayor of London.”
“If there are other women who have had similar experiences with him, I hope that this article will encourage them to come forward,” she wrote. “Because if this is a pattern of behaviour then the people of London deserve to know.”
Korski has previously spoken about his pride in his Jewish identity and has been deeply involved in Jewish community activities. He serves as a vice president of the Jewish Leadership Council — an influential U.K. umbrella for Jewish charities and organisations — and had also previously served as a trustee of the London Jewish Museum until stepping down to concentrate on his campaign. The Jewish Leadership Council did not respond to a request for comment.
Korski, who was born in Denmark to Polish Jews, emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1997. His family had fled Poland in the 1960s during a wave of Jewish emigration triggered by an antisemitic campaign pushed by factions within the-then ruling Polish Communist Party.
Korski has written and spoken publicly about how his grandfather, who survived the Holocaust by pretending to be a Polish Catholic and adopting “the more convincingly Polish” surname Korski (changing it from Finkel), emigrated along with thousands of other Polish Jews.
The Conservative Party said that it will not investigate the allegations against Korski, saying that while it has a “code of conduct and formal processes” for investigating complaints, it “does not conduct investigations where the party would not be considered to have primary jurisdiction over another authority.” Korski was formally employed by the U.K. government at the time of the alleged assault.